Kanye West commissioned Rick Rubin to help executive produce his album, “Yeezus” and with his sit down with the Wall Street Journal to discuss how the project all came to be. Check out the excerpt.
When and why did you join the “Yeezus” project?
Kanye came over to play me what I assumed was going to be the finished album at three weeks before the last possible delivery date. We ended up listening to three hours of partially finished pieces. The raw material was very strong but hadn’t yet come into focus. Many of the vocals hadn’t been recorded yet, and many of those still didn’t have lyrics. From what he played me, it sounded like several months more work had to be done. I joined the project because after discussing what he had played for me, he asked if I would be open to taking all of the raw material on and help him finish it.
How would you describe the new sound he was driving for, and how you did you help him arrive there?
He wanted the music to take a stripped-down minimal direction. He was always examining what we could take out instead of put in. A good example would be the song that became “Bound.” When he first played it for me, it was a more middle of the road R&B song, done in an adult contemporary style. Kanye had the idea of combining that track with a cool sample he had found and liked – I removed all of the R&B elements leaving only a single note baseline in the hook which we processed to have a punk edge in the Suicide tradition.
Can you recall a scene from the sessions that might help people understand his method in the studio?
We were working on a Sunday [the same day West attended a baby shower for girlfriend Kim [Kardashian] and the album was to be turned in two days later. Kanye was planning to go to Milan that night. Five songs still needed vocals and two or three of them still needed lyrics. He said, “Don’t worry, I will score 40 points for you in the fourth quarter.” In the two hours before had to run out to catch the plane, he did exactly that: finished all lyrics and performed them with gusto. A remarkable feat. He had total confidence in his ability to get the job done when push came to shove.
Tha Bizness treated us to tha bizness as they showed how they created the opening track, “Sherane” for Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut, “good kid m.A.A.d city” with the maschine . Absolutely genius
Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’ album opened up to solid first week sales numbers.
It was nearly impossible to go to any music site across the web without hearing about Frank Ocean over the past week. The Odd Future member made quite a bit of noise over the past few weeks by officially coming out through a letter posted to his Tumblr, followed by an early album release of his much anticipated debut ‘Channel Orange.’
The project served as a follow up to Frank’s album worthy ‘Nostalgia, Ultra’ mixtape, and even though it released as a digital iTunes exclusive for the first week ‘Channel Orange’ still managed to sell an impressive 130,945 copies.
Although Ocean did become the center of attention after sharing his story where he found out he was in love with another man, the album wasn’t scheduled to release until today. It’s hard to say if releasing the album a week early through iTunes helped his sales, but either way it was enough to earn him the number 2 spot on the album sales charts behind Zac Brown Band’s ‘Uncaged’ which sold just under 240,000 copies.
Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange’ album has been available for the past week on iTunes, and is now available at retail locations as well. Ocean recently kicked off his ‘Channel Orange’ tour in Seattle, with plans to tour the rest of the country.
When Kanye West first announced the signing of Big Sean, a lot of people were skeptical. Was he just part another phase that Kanye was going through during his “808 days” – or was he someone he truly had faith in as a rapper. Well almost 4 years after signing to GOOD Music and many pushbacks, Big Sean finally gets his time to shine but does he live up to the expectations that are placed upon him, being under the GOOD Music umbrella.
The album starts off with Big Sean kicking a quick 16 bars on the Intro. For first time listeners of Big Sean, this is a good display of what he is about. His punchlines are on point and there are some real good quotable lines already from the song.
“I’m still dreaming bigger than I’m living, and just sleeping long enough to dream”
Following the Intro are the first two singles from the album. The first of the two songs, I Do It, which has officially been released as the second single, is one of my least favourite songs on the album. It’s lazy, it’s generic and it sounds very forced. Whilst the My Last, although equally as generic, sounds a lot more natural. Chris Brown has been on his A-game recently, and this hook is another example of what he can do. Big Sean sounds really comfortable on this beat. This is a great choice for the first single, and with the right promotion, this could have rocketed Big Sean into the mainstream.
The next song Don’t Tell Me You Love Me is one of my favourites on the album. It’s a breakup/makeup anthem that I’m sure many people can relate to. Sean delves into details about the complications of breakups when the other half tells you that s/he loves you, and you mind starts to change and your forget it ever happens.
“What’s the perfect girl, if it’s not the perfect time? And if you want to stay it’s fine, just don’t tell me you love me”
Up next is the eagerly anticipated collaboration with Lupe Fiasco, Wait For Me. The song boasts great production from No I.D. and Exile. Big Sean questions whether it’s too late to enjoy all of the luxuries in life. A decent enough guest verse from Lupe too. The next song, Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay, is set to be released as the next single from the album. It features Kanye West‘s only contribution to the album – which is quite surprising since he is one of two executive producers. Anyway, this song is pretty good. Roscoe Dash delivers a good chorus, Sean kills both of his verses, Kanye smashes his. On to the next one, Dance (A$$) is one of the first really forgettable song on the album. Everything for the title, to the repetitive hook, to the Can’t Touch This sample is just.. no. ►►
Get It (Donald Trump) is the obligatory, Pharrell-assisted cash anthem. With a classic Neptunes beat, Pharrell sings about getting to “Donald Trump level” on the hook, whilst Big Sean drops some ‘swagnificent’ bars about, well… money.
“Got a million on line one, got another mil dialing in. Momma on line four telling me how much not to spend, Ye on line three telling me how we ’bout to win”
The next is one of the best cuts off the album. Memories (Part II) features an incredible chorus from none other than GOOD Music label mate, John Legend. Big Sean shows people that he’s doesn’t just rap about swagger and money. He discusses topics such as how a coffin is one of the only places he hasn’t been in yet; how one of his friends is addicted to pills; and losing a friend in a car accident. The seriousness from the last song is quickly forgotten with the Xaphoon Jones (Chiddy Bang) produced smokers anthem, High. The features none other than Hip Hop favourite weed-smoker, Wiz Khalifa. Wiz comes in singing his rendition of the hook, then goes in on what I believe to be one of his best verses since before the album. Chiddy does his thing on the last verse.
The penultimate song (of the standard version atleast) is the The-Dream assisted track, Live This Life. Terius’ vocal style provides the ultimate chorus for Sean’s victory song. Seans takes on a journey through the high life that he’s currently living. “Penthouse on top of the world, that Detroit player’s on top of the world”. Finally, the album closes with another money-fuelled song. Sean raps about the good things about being where he’s at now; and how he did what people were telling him not to do – which got him to where he’s at now.
All in all, the album is a real good effort. The production is great, although I’d like to have seen atleast one Kanye beat on here. Handling most of the production, No I.D. lays out a perfect platform of beats that allowed Big Sean to shine through, and didn’t overpower him at any point (unlike other albums in the same stream such as Rolling Papers). Since signing with GOOD Music, Big Sean has kept it consistent and hasn’t changed or “dumbed it down”. To the standards that have been set by Big Sean in the past, this is definitely a good debut and I think the length of the album was just right – as I thought his lack of depth in his content was starting growing quite repetitive and tiresome.
With the West Coast cornering the market for weed rap in the ’90s, a small handful of the Southern movement have taken the spirit of the previous drifters and revamped it for the new decade. Arguably the one artist who has proven to be the most successful with this blueprint is New Orleans’ Curren$y, whose previous releases have garnered a large following. Already providing one soundtrack to the summer with his Alchemist co-featured Covert Coups, Weekend at Burnies (a play on the classic ’80s slacker’ film Weekend At Bernie’s) hopes to maintain his grip on being the soundtrack to many drop top convertibles and slouched weekends during the sunny period.
Spitta’s laissez faire musings are as abundant as ever, slurring through verses but still containing some hitting lines and dope wordplay. The brilliant ‘#JetsGo’ rolls smoothly, opening the album with an ’80s-inspired production and Curren$y’s Jets repping, lavish lifestyle braggadocio working in sync with the dope score.
Ambient, smoky drones on ‘She Don’t Want A Man‘ are accompanied by Curren$y’s musings over an ambiguous partner. The sleepy, droopy ‘Televised’ provides lush dozing-off material reminiscent of productions from Zero 7, where both Spitta and International Jones emit ear appeasing verses to zone out to.
At times the laid back vibes are executed lazily to the point where the vibe is lost. ‘This Is The Life’’s smooth piano keys are marred by an overly simplistic chorus whilst ‘J.L.C’ trawls sleepily throughout the two minutes plus track. But returning to form on ‘On Gs’ and ‘Still’ results in the former Freshman channelling some classic chilled Southern anthems which really demonstrate the widened appeal of the Ski Beatz and Dame Dash affiliated rhymer.
Mark it as another successful outing for Curren$y. Whilst lyrically he may not have distinctively made the jump to the next level, his construction of songs still exerts a slickness and quality that some of the more accomplished rhymers are in need of. Productions on hand are sublime, metaphorically sending listeners on their own cloud far away – and when switching to the cruising vibes, equally compositions are as effective. Whilst the Pilot Talk series still triumphs over his later releases, Weekend At Burnies reassures Jets fans that the N.O free spirit is dopeness personified.
Curren$y – Weekend At Burnies
Released: June 28, 2011
Label: Warner Bros
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